www.whyville.net Feb 9, 2014 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

Series Review: The Mortal Instruments

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About a year and a half ago, a young xoxkitkat sauntered into a bookstore, breaking the silent rule that's probably plastered all over the entrance in invisible ink -- judging a book by its cover. Mistake number 1. In my quest to find a good read with the coolest cover possible, I ran across, not "The Mortal Instruments", but its shiny looking prequel series, "The Infernal Devices". Not even bothering to find out that this was not the starting point, I bought it, read it, and let all the inside aspects fly right over my head. Oops. 2014 was my year for redemption though, and I'm here today to tell you all about my thoughts on the original Mortal Instruments series.


"All the stories are true." This is the premise of Cassandra Clare's 6 book young adult fantasy series, set in the first novel, "City of Bones". The story begins with Clary Fray, living an average, content life with her mother and her best friend, Simon Lewis. But everything changed when the Fire Nation atta-- er, when Clary met Jace Wayland and discovered that she was born a descendent of the Shadowhunters, a half-angel, half-human race sworn to protect the world from supernatural threat. But in a world of demons, faeries, vampires, warlocks, and werewolves, the Shadowhunters may turn out to be the real danger. Throughout the series, Clary and Jace find themselves going up against their own kind in a corrupt government with vengeful outcasts and rebels set on overturning the delicate "peace" in Downworld.


While I love this series to death, I have to say that if you're looking for a beautifully written piece of literature, this isn't it. Clare's story is filled with sappy writing, convenient scene interruptions, cheesy jokes galore, not to mention the plot kind of falls through after the third book in the series.

However, there's still something compelling about "The Mortal Instruments". The world the author paints in these novels is just so fascinating that with every page I found myself wanting more and more to jump right into the novel and join the Shadowhunters in their story. Something about the sickly sweet music of the underwater faerie courts, the sparkling glass towers of the Shadowhunter capital city, and the glamor that masks the supernatural world from the mundane world makes you love every word of this borderline ridiculous fantasy.

On the other hand, despite the lower level writing style, the series throws out quite a few themes that get you to really ask some deeper questions. A major theme that comes into play is the nature of good and evil, as none of the characters seem to be fully one or the other. Cassandra Clare has you sympathizing with each and every villain by showing you their motives and their past, while at the same time causing you to be angry or disgusted or ashamed of the protagonists. The author includes a quote by Mary Wollstonecraft in the series that goes: "No man chooses evil because it is evil. He only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks" and along with the storyline, it really gets you to thinking.

But all in all, I am a tried-and-true a sucker for romance, and the twist on this series' love story is I think what hooked me. Be warned, my fellow romantics, that your hearts will be swelling like a balloon and consequently bursting from all the tension. A great Valentine's Day read, if I may say so myself.

Sound interesting? Pick up Cassandra Clare's first novel, "The City of Bones" in "The Mortal Instruments" series today! Go ahead, judge the book by its cover. Just this once.


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